If a college athlete wants to transfer to another school, he or she has to sit out for an entire season and lose a year of eligibility. For many, that penalty is enough to deter them from transferring. But that may all be about to change.
According to Jeff Goodman at ESPN.com, two former athletes are suing the NCAA for damages they claimed were caused by the current transfer eligibility rules. If their lawsuit is successful, the NCAA could be forced to remove the requirement for student-athletes to sit out for a year after transferring.
While the NCAA is confident that this case will be dismissed, many college coaches are already beginning to prepare for how the landscape of college basketball might change.
Free agency may be coming to college sports -- and it may hinge on a former punter from Northern Illinois: https://t.co/58E2jQHKOG— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) September 9, 2016
Some coaches are in support of a rule change, but not necessarily for an all out “free agency” type scenario. Coaches John Calipari and Mike Krzyzewski agree that the penalty should be removed from players transferring after a coaching change.
However, most agree that recruitment and tampering could easily get out of hand if the restrictions are removed.
How many more disgruntled players would be added to the current list of around 700 that jump ship each year in hopes of a better situation? Many coaches already take advantage of the graduate-transfer rule where a player came compete immediately if they graduate and enroll in graduate school.
You can imagine what it might look like if a top recruit does not mesh with a coach as expected and wants to go to another top program that interested him or her coming out of high school.
What if Coach Cal could add some 4 or 5-star sophomores to his next top recruiting class? What if one of the few he misses on could come back around after his coach (cough, Bill Self, cough) does not come through on his promises?
Many stakeholders are keeping a keen eye on this lawsuit. Time will tell whether this rule change will actually happen. But if it does, one thing is for sure: the rich in college athletics will get much richer. And that’s great news for Kentucky basketball.